Place Pigalle History
Located in the heart of Pike Place Market on top of what was once the Cliff House Hotel (built c. 1901), Place Pigalle has a storied past that begins as Seattle’s population was exploding in the wake of the Klondike Gold Rush. Back then it was called the Lotus Inn, a popular speakeasy during Prohibition and a tavern thereafter. When the internment of Japanese-Americans emptied 80% of the stalls at the Market, the Outlook Hotel also became available and the infamous Nellie Curtis purchased it. She remodeled it extensively and renamed it the LaSalle Hotel. Under the red glow of the Market’s neon sign, Nellie made it her flagship and the biggest brothel in town. Conveniently located next door to the lobby of the hotel, the Lotus Inn stayed busy. After the end of the war and the Great Earthquake of 1949, Nellie sold the LaSalle in 1951 to new owners who made it a legitimate hotel once again. The Lotus Inn was purchased by Dorothy Horne, who renamed it Place Pigalle Tavern. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Seattle grew and people left downtown for the surrounding suburbs. The small tavern in the corner of the Market languished as the fate of the Market was threatened by proposed projects like Pike Plaza, which would include apartments, a hotel, office space and a hockey arena. 1971 was an important year for Place Pigalle: the Market is saved and Gary Ward purchases Place Pigalle. Although Ward made PP a popular venue on the Seattle blues/jazz scene throughout the 70s, when the Market Renovation closes PP in 1977, he does an extensive remodel and reopens as a restaurant, offering real food using ingredients from the Market. In 1982, Gary Ward sold Place Pigalle to bartender Bill Frank. Frank gave the little room with the sweeping views an even more dramatic makeover, remodeling the tiny kitchen with commercial-grade equipment and bringing in white linens and flowers. Most importantly though, he upgraded the menu, offering unique seasonal creations using the freshest ingredients he could find at the Market. For twenty-five years his vision helped to shape Northwest cuisine and elevated Place Pigalle to fine-dining status. He attracted a loyal following for his food, wine, service, and ambiance. In 2007 Bill Frank retired, leaving his beloved restaurant in the very able care of Seth and Lluvia Walker. Today, the Walkers continue to honor Bill Frank’s vision while also being true to their own, keeping classics like Mussels Pigalle and Calamari Dijonaise on the menu alongside rotating seasonal selections made from the freshest seafood, meat and produce available. With their commitment to excellence and attention to detail, they ensure that Place Pigalle continues earning national and international acclaim for years to come.
Enter Place Pigalle's intimate dining room and you've found yourself in a quaint old-world parlour overlooking Seattle's Puget Sound. With appointments reminiscent of yesteryear, Place Pigalle's cozy quarters offer stunning views from every table. You may also choose to dine on our summer patio which overlooks market architecture, Elliot Bay and the majestic Olympic Mountain Range. Place Pigalle Restaurant and Bar encompasses the flavor, spirit and soul of Seattle's historic Pike Place Market and is the ultimate dining experience for both tourist and those who call Seattle home. Proprietors Seth and Lluvia Walker welcome you to experience the culinary ingenuity of Pike Place Market's most clandestine Restaurant and Bar - Place Pigalle.